Chakra Workshop Series
Facilitated by Dr. Michele DiPietro, Executive Director of Faculty Development and
Recognition and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
New! If you missed the first workshop, watch this introduction and you will be able
to join any of the workshops in the series.
The chakra system is a cornerstone of Eastern thought. It describes the self as ruled
by seven energy centers located along the spine, each presiding over specific functions
(Judith 1987). When all 7 chakras are activated and expressing in harmony, rather
than deficient or excessive, the energy flows upward and downward, allowing for the
development of greater consciousness, and for the consciousness to be translated into
reality. Each chakra has a right associated with it, and a “demon,” or trickster,
which makes the work of that chakra challenging. The seven chakras are characterized
as per the table below. This workshop series is an exploration of the functions of
the chakra system in our professional lives, in order to balance them and find greater
Introduction: Thriving in Academia With the Chakra System
Friday, August 20th
It’s hard to thrive in a place when only one of our facets (in academia, our intellect)
is privileged. The chakra system from Eastern Philosophy is a theory of the self that
posits 7 major energies that make up each person (symbolically located along the spine
from the gut to the heart to the head) and argues that a healthy expression of all
7 chakras in harmony with each other is what leads to liberation. This workshop is
an introduction to the 7 chakras, and it opens the yearlong series focusing on strategies
to waken each chakra one by one for a fulfilling professional life.
Muladhara: Finding Our Grounding
Friday, September 17
When our foundation is strong, the winds of change and uncertainty do little to faze
us. The first chakra presides to the basic aspects of our foundation, the things that
ground us, the subroutines that run in the background while we pursue higher purposes
(Duhigg 2014). When the root chakra is out of balance, we might feel less confident
in our right to take up space, or conversely, too set in our ways to adapt to change.
In this workshop we will unpack the mechanics of the first chakra and generate strategies
for a healthy and solid grounding as the foundation to the rest of the work on the
Svadhishthana: Nurturing Our Professional Desires
Friday, October 15th
With a strong foundation, we can relate to the world in terms of correspondence, what
attracts us and what repels us. These polarities generate charge and motion, so this
chakra is dedicated to movement toward what fulfills us. With a healthy chakra we
are able to pursue our desires, set boundaries to secure the time to do so, and say
no to things that are not priorities for us (King 2021). Desires are also connected
to emotions and feelings, which are traditionally discounted in academia In this workshop
we will unpack the mechanics of the second chakra and generate strategies to build
our work around our desires without guilt.
Manipura: Building Our Personal Power
Friday, November 12th
Once we are clear on our desires, a vigorous will helps us plan a course and stay
on track. The third chakra is the chakra of power and transformation. A healthy third
chakra stokes the fire in the gut that drives our performance and allows us to act
in the world by staying focused on our goals. The work of the third chakra is in building
our agency from within, especially when it is not supported by external structures
such as tenure, and especially for those who feel like impostors (Young 2011). In
this workshop we will unpack the mechanics of the power chakra and generate strategies
to build power and agency in our professional life.
Anahata: Finding the Heart
Friday, December 10th
Academia traditionally centers thoughts and reason, but there is a new movement to
find the heart in higher education (Palmer and Zajonc 2010). What does it mean to
do our work with love as well as will, and with a balance between head and heart?
In fact, the heart chakra is the one in the center of the system, and as such is the
one dedicated to balance—between teaching and research, giving and receiving, work
and life, and so on. In this workshop we will unpack the mechanics of the heart chakra
and generate strategies for a professional life where heart and mind are reunited.
Vishuddha: Growing Our Voice
Friday, January 21st
The throat chakra sits at the junction of the head and the body, and as such, it reminds
us that healthy communication comes from the alignment of our thoughts and emotions.
Finding an authoritative voice to speak our truth while remaining open to other people’s
truths is especially relevant in situations of conflict (Patterson et al. 2011). In
this workshop we will unpack the mechanics of the throat chakra and generate strategies
for healthy communication, telling our own story, conflict management, negotiation,
Ajna: Generating a Fulfilling Vision
Friday, February 18th
The third-eye chakra presides over the function of seeing beyond what the eyes can
see. This includes seeing through things and seeing things that have not manifested
yet. For this reason, a healthy third-eye chakra is capable of generating a compelling
vision for our professional life and allows us to blaze our own trail (Debowski 2012).
In this workshop we will unpack the mechanics of the third-eye chakra and introduce
tools to create a fulfilling vision for our professional life.
Sahasrara: Building Our Legacy
Friday, March 18th
The seventh chakra sits on the crown of the head, technically beyond our physical
body, signifying a level of consciousness that transcends the individual and makes
us all part of something greater and fully self-actualized. An important part of this
process is the idea of legacy, what we are living behind us that will endure beyond
our professional life. An underdeveloped crown chakra still clings to attachments
that weigh us down and do not let us transcend. In this workshop we will unpack the
mechanics of the crown chakra, review the recent research on self-actualization (Kaufman
2020) and introduce tools to plan our legacy.
Bhukti: The Manifesting Current
Friday, April 15th
In the previous workshops, we have traversed the liberating current, ascending the
chakras to achieve a higher level of consciousness, more grounded, powerful, loving,
true, connected. However, the chakra system is not linear but cyclical. Once we reach
the crown, we aim to descend the chakras in order to manifest the higher consciousness
into a new reality (Judith and Goodman 2012). This is called the manifesting current.
This final workshop will help us navigate this current to manifest fulfilling professional
Debowski, S. (2012) The New Academic: A Strategic Handbook. Open University Press.
Duhigg, C. (2014) The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Random House.
Judith, A. (1987) Wheels of Life: A User's Guide to the Chakra System. Llewellyn Publications.
Judith, A., & Goodman, L. (2012) Creating on Purpose: The Spiritual Technology of Manifesting Through the Chakras. Sounds True.
Kaufman, S. B. (2020) Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization. TarcherPerigee.
King, P. (2021) How To Say No: Stand Your Ground, Assert Yourself, and Make Yourself Be Seen (Without
Guilt or Awkwardness). PKCS Media.
Palmer, P., & Zajonc, A. (2010) The heart of higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R., Switzler, A. (2011) Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.
Young, V. (2011) The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor
Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It. Currency.